Vendor Profile: Algotec Systems: Algotec sees Internet as key to image management futurePACS vendor already developing e-health relationshipsAlgotec, an Israeli firm that has been specializing in PACS and Web-based image management since
PACS vendor already developing e-health relationships
Algotec, an Israeli firm that has been specializing in PACS and Web-based image management since 1996, is among a number of PACS companies seeking to take advantage of growing interest in the Internet as a venue for sharing electronic patient images and information. The company was established in 1993 and has been primarily an OEM supplier to the PACS industry since introducing its first product, a DICOM-compliant multimedia imaging workstation, in 1995. That product was developed for and marketed by Elscint before Algotec started selling it under its own ProVision label a year later.
About the same time, Algotec recognized PACS as the starting point for the evolution to filmless radiology and launched the first in a series of PACS and PACS-related products, all of which are developed and manufactured at the companys headquarters in Raanana, Israel. Today, Algotecs ImagiNet line comprises a suite of products designed to support enterprise-wide clinical image and data management, storage, processing, and distribution.
In addition to ProVision, Algotec offers MediStore, a multitier, multimedia data repository for diagnostic images and related clinical data that features DLT, DVD, and RAID media; MediPrime, a Windows NT-based integrated primary diagnostic and reporting workstation; MediFlow/MediLink, a workflow management tool and HIS/RIS interface; and MediSurf, a Web-based image and data access package.
In fact, MediSurf, introduced by Algotec in 1996, represents one of the first Web-based PACS and image management products on the market. MediSurf is a platform-independent, PC-based access engine designed to serve as the basis for a virtual computerized patient record. It uses Java applets to enable image and information management and access via most any network setup, including LAN, WAN, ISDN, wireless, and the Internet.
In 1998, Algotec expanded MediSurf with AutoLook, a wavelet-compression mechanism that compresses images to fit the clinical application and available network capabilities. The company introduced additional enhancements to MediSurf at the 1999 RSNA meeting, including an auto-routing data-push feature and SurfLink, an online conferencing tool that allows interactive consultations between two users in real-time.
Algotec currently claims 130 installations of MediSurf worldwide, and the company sees the product as a jumping-off point for other Internet-based applications, according to Kobi Margolin, vice president of marketing. This number is expected to grow quickly as the company adds direct sales of turnkey PACS to its OEM contracts for PACS and PACS-related products and services.
We have changed markets in the kinds of solutions we are offering, Margolin said. We used to be a components company, so channels were the best way to go. But being a full PACS system supplier justifies having our own sales force.
Algotec is beefing up its U.S. sales force as well, as part of a company-wide effort to move more into direct sales. The U.S. office, which is based in Atlanta, currently has four salespeople, but Margolin expects that number to more than double in the next few months.
Algotecs European efforts, headquartered in Germany, are also seeing some growth, particularly in full-scale systems. The company claims to have PACS components in hundreds of sites throughout the continent, but recently contracted with a large clinic in Paris for its second full PACS implementation in Europe. Algotecs first full PACS in a European site was installed last year at a large private clinic in Kiel, Germany.
Strategic relationships continue to play a significant role in the companys business plan. Current marketing and distribution partners include Marconi Medical; Toshiba Medical Systems, which sells MediSurf and MediStore in conjunction with Toshibas PACS offerings in the Japanese market; and Eclipsys, an information-systems supplier that has embedded the MediSurf system into its product line.
But Algotec sees its brightest future in the area of Web- and Internet-based PACS products and services, and is actively pursuing partners to enhance its capabilities in this direction. This includes offering an application service provider model to potential PACS customers who are not in a position to make large capital equipment investments and yet want the electronic image management capabilities a large-scale PACS provides. The company is now looking to join forces with Internet healthcare companies to provide online clinical applications and content and is even building a separate Internet business to handle these products and services.
We now see significant market acceptance in the business side of basing radiology services on the Web, and we see ourselves in a very good position in this respect, Margolin said.
4 Hamelacha St.
Industrial Zone, Raanana 43000